RAS-MAPK syndromes - a Clinical and Molecular Investigation
Sammanfattning: The RAS-MAPK syndromes are a group of clinically and genetically related disorders, characterized by cardiac defects, facial dysmorphism, cutaneous abnormalities and neurocognitive impairment. The pathogenesis is dysregulation of the RAS-MAPK pathway, and several genes within the pathway are involved.The present thesis aimed at identifying genetic causes in three of the RAS-MAPK syndromes - Noonan syndrome (NS), cardio-facio-cutaneous syndrome (CFC) and Neurofibromatosis-Noonan syndrome (NFNS) - and at correlating genotype with phenotype.A mutation analysis of six genes associated with the RAS-MAPK syndromes in NS and CFC patients revealed mutations in 10/31 patients. The results suggested more complex genetic overlap and genetic heterogeneity among these syndromes than previously believed. Subsequently, gene dosage imbalances of seven RAS-MAPK-syndrome-related genes were investigated in mutation-negative patients. A multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification strategy was developed that excluded copy number changes of these genes as a common mechanism in NS.Genetic causes of clinical variability in NS were investigated where an atypical and severe NS patient was described. In addition, multiple café-au-lait (CAL) spots affected the patient and four otherwise healthy family members. Molecular analysis of four candidate genes revealed a previously described de novo PTPN11 mutation and an inherited NF1 variant in the patient. Neither of them explained the CAL spots trait, which consequently represented a distinct entity. The results suggested that the atypical and severe phenotype in the patient could be a consequence of an additive effect.Finally, a family displaying NFNS was investigated clinically and molecularly revealing a novel mutation in the GAP-domain of NF1. Furthermore, the results suggested that other RAS-MAPK-syndrome-related genes are not involved in NFNS. A proposal of prioritizing the GAP-domain of NF1 in NFNS was presented.Conclusively, these studies contribute to further understanding of the RAS-MAPK syndromes and facilitate the diagnostic process and future prognosis prediction.
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